Last week was a beast of a monster of a hurricane. Okay, it wasn’t that ridiculous, but it was close. Doc Sci trotted off to northern Germany leaving me with the three amigos for three days. Needless to say, I’m glad it was three days and not three weeks.
Since travel details are my specialty, I sorta kinda helped him to arrange his lodging. But there are only so many hours in the day, and when my free time ran out, he ended up choosing the property and making the final reservation. As such, here is another guest post from Doc Sci with a review of his hotel.
Last week, I hopped aboard a high speed train and managed to hang on for four hours until I reached Essen. Translations of the word Essen include eating, food, meals, etc. But this trip had nothing to do with chowing down. Essen, Germany is quite a bit north from where we live and rather close to the Netherlands. The purpose of my trip was to learn a whole bunch of scientific mumbo-jumbo, but I won’t go into that because this here is a travel blog not a how-to-be-a-nerd-scientist blog.
I booked a room at the Hotel Petul. There are 6 different locations in Essen, some of which have a very modern look. Since my wife and boys weren’t traveling with me this time, I only needed a single room. However, most hotels in town were booked up on account of a convention at the city’s conference center. The only room available was at the Apart Hotel Petul Residenz.
On to the review…
I took the latest train I could in order to be away from my family for the least amount of time. This meant I had a very late check in time at the hotel (after midnight in fact). When I called earlier in the day to ensure someone would be there to check me in, the woman very kindly in English told me it would be no problem.
When I arrived, the graveyard shift guy was of the older non-English speaking persuasion. Luckily, two years of living in Germany has turned me into an expert in pantomime. From his gestures, I was able to get my key and understand that the hotel was a 250m walk down the street, and that the apartment sat right on top of a Lidl grocery store.
Just a note about location… The Hotel Petul was less than a two minute walk from a tram line that took me everywhere I wanted to go. Downtown, uptown, Essen’s main train station, etc., all ran along this line.
Upon walking in to the apartment, my first impression was that the room was very nice, much nicer and bigger than I needed for sure. But again, it was the only thing available.
The room had a bed and a desk. Standard fare in standard European style. Nothing particularly unusual. Well, that is, until I walked into the bathroom and noticed the shower.
I know, I know, you’re thinking, “The shower… who cares about the shower… I do not pick properties based on the shower.” But believe me when I say this shower was total overkill.
I literally could not figure out how to turn it on in the first five seconds (I am an engineer so I am supposed to know how everything works).
Then I noticed that this crazy contraption came with a TWO PAGE, front and back instruction manual. For a shower. Granted the instructions were in German and didn’t help that much but… come on. If the shower takes two pages to explain… it is toooo complicated.
And a little too awesome. How in the world am I going to go back to my measly bath after getting used to a rain shower and wall jets?
Since this building was the Residenz, my room was attached to a small kitchenette that was shared between two apartments. The kitchen had hotpot for making tea and coffee, a small fridge, kitchenware, a single burner (but no pot), and a microwave. This was nice for making tea and instant oatmeal before heading off each day.
The hotel does offer a breakfast buffet, but it usually isn’t included in the room price. When booking the hotel, I noticed the breakfast costs a whopping 11 euros per person. I had a look at it my last day when I was checking out. Sure, it was a standard German breakfast with cold cuts, bread, joghurt, and muesli. But I definitely could have just gone downstairs to Lidl and purchased whatever I actually wanted to eat for much less money.
Despite the language barrier, Check-in and check-out were very easy. I found the staff to be both kind and helpful. I was also surprised by the daily cleaning service that is not standard in apartment and apartment hotel properties. I would definitely stay here again by myself, but would I stay here with my family?
In short, the Apart Hotel Petul Residenz would not be my first choice in Essen family accommodation for several reasons. First, the rates can vary wildly from 61 to 166 euro per night. Since my stay coincided with a convention in the city, I paid around 80 euros per night for the double business apartment. Truthfully, I would not pay much more than that unless I was in a bind.
Second, though it is considered an apartment, the “room” really is just that – one room. We generally prefer properties that have at least one room with a door in order to have some kid-free time in the evenings.
On the flip side, the shared kitchenette is a great amenity when traveling with children. The hotel does not charge extra for children using existing bedding. My room had a small couch that would be fine for a child as well as a decent amount of floor space for a baby cot or small sleeping bags.
All in all, the Apart Hotel Petul Residenz is a decent place to stay with kids and family while on a budget in Essen, provided you can catch the rate on the low end of the scale.